Posted this way back and it's still good enough for me
1. My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
Perpetuation. An album isn't just about the music, but everything it represents right down to how you approach it, how you react to it during different life moods, the colors. I suppose what keeps this still at number one for me is how internalized it is into my being where just the sheer mention of its name automatically bursts magenta hued controlled cacophonies into my imagination. All of those enchanting melodic motifs that have become as memorable as the most magnificent life experience memories that I've ever lived through.
2. Disco Inferno- The 5 EP's
I gon done told you guys I’m letting you choose this. Love DI Go Pop, but this is their finest offering to my ears. Incredible music. And it gains even more weight knowing how short-lived they were and how ahead of their time they were during it. Years from now when Haley Joel Osmond is cruising around arctic tundras, he will discover this kind of music and think it’s from an entirely different planet but still made profoundly by humans.
3. Smog- Red Apple Falls
Kind of a stand in for one of my favorite artists as his consistency wasn't just about making good albums, but showing actual growth as an artist. Red Apple Falls found Callahan at probably his most abstract, with a sense of ambiguity that may not be fully understood but is deeply felt. The vision here is something that approaches magical realism, even though most of his allusions are still very much grounded in real life.
4. Yo La Tengo- I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
I suppose the attraction to Yo La Tengo is that they never ask you to listen to them. It’s always the listener that is drawn in during their most vulnerable and grey moments, which comprise the majority of a human life’s colors. i.e. Right before bed, the drive back home, existing without really trying. Humility isn’t such a fashionable thing to market, but they get by just fine. Quiet but confident, this is their finest offering of their fruitful decade.
5. Primal Scream- Screamadelica
Pastiche has always been an underrated form of being an artist as some people think that original art should just appear out of thin air. What Primal Scream did here was take all their influences, stuff they loved that defined them: gospel, house, dub, Rolling stones, psychedelic, noise, etc., then proceeded to make a concoction more original than what was going around them at the time. The joyousness of the album is even more admirable when you consider it against the dark turn music took around them.
6. Gas- Zauberberg
It was a photo finish with Konigsforst (which has a lot of my favorite Gas tracks), but this ended on top for being the one I return to most often. I find this to be a pretty complex album in the ambient techno genre, which instead of coating you with a soft wash of likable repetitive textures, it unsettles you with something dark and unsettling, but you never really want it to go away. Weird to say, but it’s like the best horror album I’ve ever heard.
7. Daft Punk- Homework
Fine memories of driving to California with my friends and the only CD we had was this. The interesting thing about this record is in hindsight, all of its "filler" seems much more perfunctory to its overall design, taking you through a long but rewarding ride to buildup to its familiar highpoints that are now deeply internalized.
8. Genius/GZA- Liquid Swords
This thing has basically become Thriller for me
9. Gang Starr- Moment of Truth
Like eating a bag of chips, you just can't settle for just one song from Gang Starr. Guru's straight faced spitting becomes a frame of mind, where lyrics and flow coalesce with Primo's beats so perfectly, the music becomes as natural as breathing air in a room.
10. Madonna- Erotica
The best pop album of the 90s with scarce successful singles but a seductive mood and feel throughout. She sets up the template for the immaculate pop sophistication that would later catch on with Moloko/Roisin Murphy, Janet, Annie, etc. But this one feels at its most organic. As the name implies, it’s an album that stays in that sensual sweet spot without crossing over that obscene line.
11. Pole- CD1
Here is a guy who had an entirely original vision of dub music from his very first record and still maintained tradition.
12. Moodymann- A Silent Introduction
Most dj's and electronic artists operated in the album format by collecting a bunch of singles over a period of a few years and assembling it into some pseudo- album which really just felt and sounded like a compilation. Moodymann took the idea to work and rework on sequencing track transitions for a presentation of deep house that is simply amazing.
13. Swans- Soundtracks for the Blind
I joined the Swans train late, not until last year's great The Seer in fact, but now I'm a fan for life. I think what they do better than anyone else is a sense of catharsis. And the bigger, longer, and girthier, the better. I can't find many things that I find as fulfilling as when Swans "go beautiful" after a long descent. The record goes through some insane diversity in styles, but it all feels tied together in a sublime indirect way.
14. Triple Six Mafia- Underground Vol. 1: 1991- 1994
Incredibly realized for a group whose balls didn't even drop at this point. Its consistency of its weed-filled hazy atmosphere makes it a release that feels at home and comforting even if it were playing at a party.
15. Emperor- In the Nightside Eclipse
I’m no metal expert, I leave that Nesquik and qo., but this to me seems beyond that. I think this is one of the best uses of dynamics in album construction regardless of ‘genre’. Album making of the highest order.
16. UGK- Ridin' Dirty
I, along with Rashed, will still contest that Pimp C was really the premature death that should be grieved over the most. Seeing how he was also the group's primary beat maker, along with have such a biting lyrical panache, it's too true. This is southern rap of the highest order, chill but muscular at the same time.
17. Nas- Illmatic
It's actually kinda funny (or depressing) that no other rap album has reached such a conciseness as this has. Just when you thought that it wasn't that good, you listened to it again.
18. Richie Hawtin- Decks, EFX and 909s
Goes from 0-60 in a matter of seconds and barely lets up. I'll take this one to represent Detroit. Many miles on the treadmill were had thanks to this.
19. The Pharcyde- Bizarre Ryde II the Pharcyde
Like its name, this album is just fun as hell to take a ride on. It gets me giddy when I think about putting it on. This is how humor and fun can be infused in an album without giving up the idea of taking it seriously as art.
20. Biosphere- Substrata
Oddly enough, I think this is textbook ambience, but it's so committed to itself that I believe in every shade of atmosphere it wants you to feel. Miles ahead of their other cheesy releases.
21. Jim O' Rourke- Bad Timing
It was tough to just narrow it down to one release, so I went with my first love. O' Rourke has such a knack for conjuring such heartfelt emotions with a guitar.
22. Talk Talk- Laughing Stock
A record that laughs at its post-rock categorization. If post-rock is about stretching out arrangements into a sublime patience and making something out of seemingly nothing, then I guess it is. I come out a different person upon every listen to this.
23. Digable Planets- Blowout Comb
Should be a regular in the 90's cannon with all the other great rap albums. Jazz proliferated a lot in hip hop during the early 90's, but this one's the one.
24. Porter Ricks- Biokenetics
Beautifully deceptive in its design, first lulling you into thinking it's an ambient album, but treks into territories with higher energies that you least expected to be in.
25. The Olivia Tremor Control- Dusk at Cubist Castle
An incredible album that takes you places. The Green Typewriter section is one of the most audacious turns in recorded music.
26. Snoop Doggy Dogg- Doggystyle
Dre controlled a bunch of artists with The Chronic, but representing a single artist like the incomparable Snoop gives it a much tighter autonomy.
27. Belle & Sebastian- Lazy Line Painter Jane EP
Going through B&S's remarkable 90's output, I couldn't help but find this little EP to be their boldest offering. It still maintains the reflective meekness they do so well, but with bold ideas added to the equation.
28. Aphex Twin- Selected Ambient Works: 85-92
Nothing beats that front half ever. The back half ain't that far behind either.
29. Stars of the Lid- The Ballasted Orchestra
This is music that's essential to life
30. Mayhem- De mysteriis dom Sathanas
Extremely concise black metal album that has surprisingly high replay value.
31. Boards of Canada- Music Has the Right to Children
Like Loveless, this album's presentation of self is hard to shake off, cover and all. Later they would be more mysterious and futuristic in their intentions, but I love the shades of hip hop rhythms that are found here.
32. Dr. Dre- 2001
The front half of this has some of greatest hip hop singles ever made and the back half is good enough not to bring that down. Less concerned about texture than the original but excels in encapsulating a certain kind of feeling (see "Xxplosive").
33. Herbert- Around the House
For an artist who's crafted great works out of found sound, this is up there with his best. I just love the restrained deep house he's able to create, a mood that always sticks with me.
34. Radiohead- OK Computer
Society made me do it
35. Panasonic- Kulma
This album and band are such a visceral experience that I think every fan of music and audiophile needs to dive into this asap. These are textures with so much depth and power, it hardly feels like it was made by humans. It makes autechre seem flatter than Nina's (son's) chest.
36. Company Flow- Funcrusher Plus
El-P back in the day was just as bold if not bolder than he is now. I think this record has an unexplainable lull to all the ideas it puts in the forefront. Like Cannibal Ox's Cold Vein, you can't help but become mesmerized by a higher mystery behind it.
37. Pulp- Different Class
Someone thankfully woke me up while dozing off in my britpop exploration for this project. It benefits greatly from having such a uniquely entertaining frontman in Jarvis Cocker. If there's one album to keep from that dodgy but important phase in music, it's this masterwork.
38. Mouse on Mars- Glam
How underrated are they? I think people mistake their inconsistencies within their albums as mistakes, but I think it's more about their perspective on how life works. Sometimes there are patterns and sometimes there are not, memorable moments, and not so, ups and then downs. Profoundly consistent with inconsistency and a beautiful presentation with the artwork's inspiration.
39. Oval- Szenariodisk
I love this guy's work for the entire work, but this short EP gets to me more for some reason.
40. Scott Walker- Tilt
Do it for Joe, man.
41. Stereolab- Emperor Tomato Ketchup
One of the most underrated aspects about Stereolab is their lyrics, which are just as provocative as the most rebellious of punk bands. The beauty of them is that they drown it in such an infectious krautrockian pop and the contrast gives it another unexpected layer of complexity.
42. Portishead- Dummy
Still the best trip hop album
43. Mos Def- Black on Both Sides
A lyricist with so much skill with a welcoming wit to back it up
44. Red Red Meat- Bunny Gets Paid
I'll take Tim Rutili over Jeff Tweedy any day of the week and his pre-Califone work is just as good and tastefully experimental as anything he's done up to date.
45. Saint Etienne- Foxbase Alpha
That lovely Swedish pop that brought great joy in the 00's from the Sincerely Yours label can be traced back to this.
46. The Orb- The Orb's Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld
The orb figured out that molly-ridden ravers could actually go outside to dance and made music accordingly. What's great about this album is it primarily headphones dance music; stuck between reflexivity and spectacle. Your body may tap a foot or two, but your mind is misty mountain hopping everywhere.
47. Kate Bush- The Red Shoes
A flop album that really shouldn't have been one. The album is actually remarkably consistent and the inspiration from a film by my favorite filmmaking duo naturally appeals to me.
48. Source Direct- Exorcise the Demons
I'm no drum n' bass advocate, but the horror-inspired presentation here is terrifically realized.
49. Tindersticks- Nenette et Boni
Quietly mesmerizing soundtrack from an always underrated band for the best French film of the 90's
50. En Vogue- Best of En Vogue
Taking from the past synchronized 60's girl groups, infusing it with the present R&B and New Jack Swing trends of their present and now in hindsight, this girl group that was conceived by deep pocketed producers as a mere functional pop construct, in turn still echoes in this now future. If ever there was a group to cover all the chronological pizazz of joyous female fronted popular music, it's them. Give them something they can feel.